Friday, May 28, 2010

Olive Harvest 2010

Yesterday brought not only the first snow to the hills around the winery, but also the first day of our Olive Harvest for 2010. First to be harvested were some Leccino and Pendolino, followed by some Frantoio this morning.

Here Colin is harvesting the olives from the trees along the boundary of our Home Vineyard. We harvest the olives using rakes which gently shake the branches of the tree. The ripe, healthy olives fall from the tree onto the nets we lay down. Any olives that have been damaged by frosts or birds cling to the tree - so only the best olives are collected. That said, this year we have been very lucky with a warm May, and the olives are free of frost damage.

Then we collect the olives which have fallen onto the nets below the trees, and take them to be pressed at Marlborough's community olive press.

The olives are first washed, and passed through a tray with large holes to separate them from any leaves that are inevitably collected.
Then the olives are smashed into a paste using a hammer mill - stones and all. This paste then passes through the malaxer shown above, which mixes and agitates the olive paste.

The olive paste then passes through a centrifuge, a machine which separates out the oil by spinning it at high speed, leaving you with beautiful green olive oil! The remaining paste of flesh and stones can then be brought back to the vineyard for composting.

This olive oil will form part of our Olio Nuovo, literally 'New Oil', the bright, fresh, green olive oil released soon after harvesting and pressing.

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